Tuesday, August 30

G is for Gutted!












Things are getting pretty serious now! Yesterday we spent a long hard day removing the sink, boiler and granite worktops. The necessary plumbing and electrics have been done, ready for the plasterer on Thursday. I am without a sink but the dishwasher remains.......I am hanging onto that until the last possible moment I can tell you!
Our pals Spud and Tony are here today building the units.... we'll just see how things go.
Remaining calm and collected - be it a tad tired I am just getting on with matters, knowing all will be so much better very soon.
Next post will feature the plastered walls.......
watch this space!

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Monday, August 29

Diet Progress

last week at Slimming World I achieved my 1 and a half stone award - Each week I chissel away at the diet and whilst I haven't had big weekly losses nevertheless it is steps in the right direction.


I have another half stone which I want to get rid of, bringing my total weight loss to 2 stone. Once I achieve that I will consider the next step, or if there will be one - not sure.
The photo above (I am front row 2nd from the left) shows those of us who were nominated for woman of the year award. The lady next to me, Frances was the winner - she has lost 10 stone!
A great part of the success is down to the support we give and receive within the group.
I also received my Gold Body Magic award - for the extensive exercise I do - what with walking Freida and extreme DIY!
Talking of extreme DIY I can hear Jon removing the old boiler......... better go and help!

Saturday, August 27

Kitchen Developments

Remember this?

It now looks like this.

Remember this?

It now looks like this.

My job has been to remove all the tiles...and clear the kitchen.

Jon has been busy with his new cordless drill.

Sorting out the lights - ready for plasterer on Thursday who is skimming the ceiling.

There are a coup[le of sockets to fit.

The 20 year old patio door is being replaced with a window and full size door (infact it is happening as I type here) 

Yesterday the kitchen was delivered - in torrential rain!

You can see the weather conditions through the window!

The delivery lads were very very wet - they welcomed the tea and toast I made for them.

Watch this space!

Tuesday, August 23


Right........????? This is our kitchen as it is at 10am Tuesday! Today, my task is to remove the tiles. We removed the wall cupboards yesterday - after I had driven to Harrogate and back I hasten to add - AND with a satnav who had an identity crisis!!!!!!

All wall cupboards will be removed today and tomorrow I will take off all the remaining wall tiles.The Rayburn is safe under a cover!

I find it helps to post pictures here - it gives people an idea of the pigsty we call our kitchen - I KNOW as people read this they will look at their own kitchens and realise they could never live in such squalor! lol! I also know that it is a work in progress and the same people will see the finished work in a few weeks and see the work we have done. Yes it is hard work but we are coping. Believe it or not I feel organised and can see a plan emerging.........well I think it's a plan - it could be the first stage of madness!
Oh and I keep telling myself - in two weeks time, 10am Tuesday morning we will be disembarking from the ferry and biking through Holland, Belguim and onto France - if you see us, give us a wave! lol!
Watch this space!

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Saturday, August 20


The Great British Bake Off series is back!

Now I must say right now I am not a baker - in fact we don't eat much "baked" stuff! Yes I had a bread maker at one point but when there are just the 2 of us there is only so much bread we can eat in one day. Jon always has toast with his breakfast - and an occasional sandwich for lunch and that will be it! Say 3 slices in one day! I may have 1 slice with poached eggs around 11 but no more bread that day. So...the bread maker was not a good idea for us - as it encouraged us to have vast amounts of fresh bread in one day. Oh and the thickness issue was another - when I made my own bread - courtesy of a bread maker - the bread was cut like doorsteps - so well in the region of 4 slices per portion!
So I buy bread from our local baker - in fact the bakery itself is next to Jon's workshop. One small sliced loaf lasts us a few days. All fresh, local and the slices are appropriate!

BUT........the thing is with cooking programmes they entice you into the web of "I can try that!" which is what happened this week.
During the programme the contestants had to perform 3 tasks - cupcakes, batten burg and 2 tier cake.
Now I have made all these in shape or form - no we didn't have cupcakes - but we did have butterfly cakes  but what the programme brought back to me was the memories of my cake icing successes in my O level domestic science course.

When we are out and about on our biking adventures Jon occasionally has a slice of cake with a cup of tea - but cake is something I don't really "do".............not being a sweet person! As a result of watch ing the programme I decided to make some cakes - Jon said he does like chocolate fudge cake - so the next day I set to and made 2 cakes and 12 cupcakes - they tasted delicious I am told, in fact Jon said "They taste just like the real thing!"

I googled the recipe and this is the one I found which had so many good comments and positive feedback.


175g Self raising flour

2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

1 Tsp Bicarbonate soda

150g Caster sugar

2 Eggs Beaten

150 ml (1/4 pint) Sunflower oil

150 ml (1/4 pint) Semi skimmed milk

2 Tbsp Golden syrup

For the Coating and filling

75g Unsalted butter

175g Icing Sugar

3 Tbsp Cocoa Powder

Drop of Milk

1. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 18cm (7 inch) sandwich tins.

2. Sieve the flour, cocoa and Bicarbonate of Soda into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix well.

3. Make a well in the centre and add the syrup, eggs, oil and milk. Beat well with electric whisk until smooth.

4. Spoon the mixture into the two tins and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Remove from oven, leave to cool before turning out onto a cooling rack.

5. To make your butter icing, place the butter in a bowl and beat until soft. Gradually sift and beat in the icing sugar and cocoa powder then add enough milk to make the icing fluffy and spreadable.

6. If the cake has risen a little too high then use a serrated knife to even off the top, now sandwich the two cakes together with the butter icing and cover the sides and the top of the cake with more butter icing.

I have made another one today (Saturday) as we have friends coming for supper.....
watch this space!

Tuesday, August 16

E is for......electrical stuff!

Well, it is the 16th today - the kitchen is being delivered in 10 days time. The plasterer is booked for the week commencing 29th August - by which time all the electrical work needs to be completed, the current units removed, the door fitted and the sink moved. If I say the list quickly it doesn't sound so bad - but yes, there is still stuff to do, much is totally out of my control. However - one thing I can do is, once the units are removed I CAN remove the tiles........ (hmmmm !)
Jon has been really busy, but this afternoon we have been out looking for lights - and we have bought some, ready to be fitted. Jon, bless him, did explain about the transformers (I thought these were some sort of toy my nephews played with - robotic vans etc) and to be honest he may have well explained the operstions of robotic super power for all the good his explaining did. I don't know what it is about explanations - totally above my head, but with Jon being 5' 11" and me being 5' 1" this is to be expected, nay celebrated!
Having such fantastic blogging friends out there who have been through the kitchen experience, it is great to feel encouraged, nay inspired by such people, for instance Kath - you can read all about her fantastic transformation  Here .
So..........let the work continue and progress begin!
Watch this space!

Sunday, August 14

On our doorstep!

twas lovely today to be sitting on the back of the motorbike and witnessing the above!
All I had to do was stay on! lol!
No map reading, nothing!

Saturday, August 13

August 13th

Is it really 25 years since Dad died?
Where does time go?
Read my tibute here

Jon is working today - so I will busy myself pottering, tidying and cleaning, and remembering.

Friday, August 12

A smile for Friday!

The weather continues to be naff, the news here in UK is equally naff - so here is something which made me smile - I hope it does the same for others!

5 pearls of Irish wisdom to remember.

1. Money cannot buy happiness but somehow, it's more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes Benz than it is on a bicycle.

2. Forgive your enemy but remember the bastard's name.

3. Help a man when he is in trouble and he will remember you when he is in trouble again.

4. Many people are alive only because it's illegal to shoot them.

5. Alcohol does not solve any problem, but then neither does milk.

Thursday, August 11

It's wet!

It has rained for the best part of this week now. Quite a few people have been saying they felt a nip in the air indicating that Autumn is on its way. I guess Autumn may well be knocking on the door but summer never really arrived - well not here anyway. Summer may have hovered about but that's about all! Thank goodness for the nice weather we will have in the first week of September! Trust me on this! We are going to France on the motorbike then and we always have good weather!

In the meantime - I ordered my winter boots today!
They look robust for my walkies out with Freida!

Wednesday, August 10

In with the new!

I have a new laptop - breaking away from Toshiba which we have both tended to favour - mine is a Samsung S3510. My previous laptop had gradually got worse and worse, getting to the point of frustration as it would take so may attempts and acts of patience to get online. The problems started creeping in gradually - a few minutes here, a few "freezes" here but slowly and slowly the problems developed until it was intollerable. Whilst I am no wizz kid and would never consider myself as a geek (heaven forbid _ I am a blonde after all) I did have the necessary knowledge (basic) to be able to re-format my laptop when things got worse. I also regularly de-bug, defragment and clear up disk space - but enough was enough!
Jon is the technically minded one - so on Monday we tootled over to Curry's or is it now PC World - whoever - I think they are all the same now - we went there and after a relatively short time, talking to the geek and looking along the shelves we purchased this one.
It wasn't as expensive as the rest but I didn't need the functions which a lot were offering.  The geek asked me if I do much online gaming - did I need a console etc etc (do I look as though I do?) and when we said "No" he suggested this one together with a security and office package - and a cordless mouse and case, oh and a flash drive.
Arriving home I went through the necessary procedure to start up, link up and get online and here I am!
It is a pleasure to use and now I realise how bad the previous one was.

Similar thing happened in Homebase. I opened the door to an integrated fridge and was totally blown away! It was the basic model too - but nevertheless I was totally awestruck.

Our current fridge is an integrated one too, but it is old and in a serious state of disrepair. A few of the door shelves have broken as have the interior shelves/racks too. It is under the worktop - so not the most accessible. I can hardly wait for the new one to arrive!
It just goes to show how I have simply not noticed how  things have deteriorated around me and how we have put up with it all!

Tuesday, August 9

Ashamed to be a UK citizen!

The news tonight is distressing. I am disgusted at what is going on. Far away in war zones we have brave men and women fighting for our we have mobs destroying the marrow of the bones of the same country.

Dadaaaaaaa! (As in DRUM Roll!)

A couple of hours ago - the very first breakfast cooked on the Rayburn! This was Jon's suggestion - I said it is ABC theme and it must contain a letter "D" so he came up with TuesDAY's breakfast! Hmmmm!
Although it is summertime and apparently August,  the weather leaves a lot to be desired and we have lit the Rayburn! Originally we  tested it out so that when the colder months came along we would know what to do in a relative short space of time - but the weather has taken a definite turn for the worse and we needed to keep warm, hence the rayburn being on. We are still in the experimental phase - Jon is trying out a variety of fuel - mostly logs during the day and a mixture of logs and coal during the night, I am getting use to cooking with it. I have roasted a joint of pork and made a chicken curry - both quite nice, even if I say so myself.
It seems quite a while since we were actually warm throughout the house and I am so pleased we had the Rayburn fitted when we did - nobody anticipated this drop in climate. Jon is currently modifying the set up so we have an independent pump feature - not sure as whilst he was explaining the technical details to me I was lost in the translation! A typical occurance in the everyday life when married to an engineer!

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Saturday, August 6

Broody Hen

Bev is broody again! Last year she was the same and we did take her over to the neighbours and gave her the opportunity to hatch some eggs, but it wasn't to be. When we brought her back home the remaining hens seemed to pick on her a bit. She is fully integrated back into the brood now, so I wont be hiring out her services.
She has stopped laying eggs (easy to notice as hers are blue) but sits on any of the eggs the other hens lay. I don't want to disrupt the egg laying programme - we currently get 5 a day, so I am easing her off the eggs around teatime. Sometimes when hens become broody they become weak as they do not eat, but when I ease her off the eggs, she leaves the henhouse and makes her way to the food, so I am quite happy with this.
The eggs remain wonderful and feature in my breakfast most days.....who could resist this?

Thursday, August 4

New Shoes!

These are my new trainers. Apparently they will tone up my legs muscles. They certainly make me taller! I haven't used them for running yet - cos I don't really "do" running - never feel comfortable. I guess I will begin by walking briskly when out with Freida!
Last night at Slimming World I received my Club 10 award - meaning I have lost 10% of my initial body weight - and to date I am continuing to lose weight.....there are changes I have made to my diet and I hope to lose a further few would the odd little trot around help matters?
Watch this space!

Wednesday, August 3

The hens, moi, the movie!

Last year! I have lost a bit of weight since - but my voice remains the same! lol! Oh yes and that is Jon and I on the first motorbike, our neighbours John and trichia following!

Tuesday, August 2


In my previous life as a primary school deputy headteacher it was my job to lead a weekly school assembly. On one such occasion I was a tad unprepared and grabbed an assembly story book on my way to the school hall, my class in tow.
As the assembled listened I read a story. It was about a woman in a village complaining to the elder about her house being too small. The elder told her to go home and put all the cows in the kitchen, the sheep in the living room, the pigs in the bathroom and the chickens in the bedroom. The woman returned home and did this, returning to the elder the following day. She was told to let one animal out each day. Over a period of time the woman did just that - as she did so she felt she had a tiny bit more space. As the animals were let out the feeling of getting more space increased until her house was empty and she was left languishing in the longer feeling the house was small.
As I read the story then, and as I recollect it now it made a great deal of sense especially with our current circumstances. Our house looks like a building site and will continue to do so for the next few months, but as we tackle each project we will have our sights set on what it WILL be like in a few months time.
I currently am working in a kitchen which is a nightmare - but it is clean and in a few weeks my cupboards will look like this

and I will have a place for everything!

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